Every organization supports a good cause.  The key is to let people know about your cause and how important it is.  The more people who know, the more money you will raise, and the better off your cause will be.

  • Tell friends and family about the people or organization you are helping.  Bring it up in casual conversation.
  • Send out updates about the organization you are supporting.  If your organization supports a cause, send updates about what they support.  For example, a local organization gives monetary funds to a group that provides therapy horses to local children.  Sending updates to those who have given money or time before allows them to know what their money has been used to do.  This can be a mass e-mail, postcard, or letter.  Include pictures of what is happening as a visual reference.  There are several ways to do this.  Microsoft Word has templates that can help you with a newsletter.
  • Find out as much about your organization and cause.  Before people give time, money, or auction items, they want to know exactly what they will be funding.  The more you know, the more people will want to help your cause.
  • Share posts from the organization on social media.  Retweeting, sharing on Facebook, and including it on your Instagram feed can help raise awareness of the organization and help you raise money later on.
  • Tell everyone in your organization to share these simple tips to help your cause.  If the other members of your organization do these things as well, your organization will get out more information and more money to help.

People love to hear how they can help others and how they have helped others in the past.  Keeping in contact with people who have given money for your cause in the past will help you to raise more money in the future.

Photo by Matus Laslofi.

Popcorn Bidding

For online auctions Benefit Bidding offers a feature known as “Popcorn” or “Dynamic” bidding.  If a bid is made within a set time usually set to 9 minutes and 59 seconds of the auction’s scheduled closing time, Popcorn Bidding automatically extends the scheduled closing time for the auction of that particular item for another 10 minutes after the bid is made. Each subsequent bid resets the clock to allow bids to be made for another 10 minutes. Once there has been no bidding activity for 10 minutes, the bidding is considered completed and no further bidding is accepted. The auction for the item is closed. As always, the person who placed the highest bid wins the item.

Popcorn bidding prevents a practice known as “sniping,” where bidders place a bid in the last seconds before an auction closes, thus preventing other bidders from responding with a higher bid. Auctions which employ Popcorn Bidding mimic traditional “live” auctions.

As always, if there is a specific item you really want, it is in your best interest to monitor the auction during the last few minutes and to offer the highest Auto Bid amount that you are willing to spend.

Please contact us at auction@benefitbidding.com for more information about Popcorn Bidding, Online Auctions, Mobile Bidding or raising funds for your philanthropic organization.  Turning on the Popcorn Bidding options will result in raising more funds with your online fundraising auction.

Benefit Bidding Auctions


You might think you have a small organization or that you don’t have many auction items, so having an auction isn’t right for you.  We work with organizations both small and large, with live auctions and online auctions.  We have so much to offer your organization starting with your first phone call for a consultation!

A consultation with us is meant for us to listen and ascertain what type of fundraising event would be right for you.  We want you to have the best experience, so our professional staff will make sure your individual needs are met.  It does not matter what size auction, how much money you project you will raise, we will provide you with the best service to make the most of your auction.  Listening to your wants and needs is our highest priority.

We will also provide you with an auction planning guide.  This guide will help you understand all of our services and give you valuable information to help you plan your event.  It takes between 6 months and a year to plan a large auction.  Why not take the time to do it right and allow us to help you make the most of your event.  Every live auction walks a tightrope between party and  fundraiser.  Benefit Bidding has the expertise to strike the right balance, making your sure your guests enjoy themselves and your organization gains the funds it needs.

Our consultations with you can help you determine the right venue for your event, how much time it will take to plan, help you find items for the auction, even helping your set the room to best generate the most money from your auctions.  A list of consulting services is available here.

Starting with your first call, we will help you make a memorable, fun, and profitable night for your organization.  Benefit Bidding will be there every step of the way.  We want to help you make the most for your organization no matter how big or small.  Contact us for your consultation today!

Staring a new year is a great time to look at setting goals for your organization.

Your organization would benefit and grow from periodically looking at your organization’s goals and setting new ones.  Setting goals offers your members and volunteers a clear understanding of where your organization is headed and helps give them a sense of accomplishment.

Here are some ways to help when it comes time to set goals:

  1. Take a look back at your previous year.  Did you accomplish everything you wanted to?  Did you raise enough money to benefit your community?  Did your volunteers and members know where your organization was and is going?
  2. Set SMART Goals, created by George T. Doran. These stand for:
    1. S – Specific (or Significant).
    2. M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
    3. A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
    4. R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
    5. T – Time-bound (or Trackable).
  3. Look at the big picture.  Attainable goals are great, but so are wonderful goals that are difficult and hard to come by.  Having a “big picture” goal will help with this.  If you don’t have a mission statement, this would be a good time to make one.  Forbes.com has a great article on how to do this.  A mission statement will allow you to make sure your members can see where the organization is going and what everyone should be doing.

No matter what your goals turn out to be for the new year, Benefit Bidding can help you achieve them.  Fundraising is important and can help you achieve your goals and better help your community.

donation contact list building

Keeping a donation contact list of people who donated items to your fundraising event is key to making sure you can maintain the donation momentum year after year.  How do you do this?  What information do you need to keep?

  1. Names: Names are very important.  Are you contacting an individual?  Do they have a nickname they like to go by?  Are you contacting a business?  Is there one person who takes care of donations?  Who is your contact person?  Is there an alternate contact person?
  2. Addresses: This is very important in order send your letters.  Please note that mailing addresses and the place you might need to pick up the donation may be two different addresses.  Note both.
  3. Phone numbers: Is there a general phone number for a business?  Does the person you need have a private number or an extension?  Do they have a cell phone they would rather have you call?
  4. Fax numbers: You may never need it, but if they have a fax number, get it.  Letters get lost in the mail and they may want you to fax your request somewhere.  If you don’t have a fax machine, you can usually find them for use as public libraries and office supply stores.
  5. E-mail addresses: If you have an electronic letterhead and have a copy of the letter you sent them, you can e-mail them a copy.  You can also follow up with the person you are soliciting by e-mail, which comes in handy.
  6. Donation items: Note any items that the person or business has donated in the past.  This helps when making suggestions on what they should donate in the future.  You might also want to note the monetary value of the item and how much it sold for.

There are several ways to keep up with this information.  I personally like spreadsheets.  They are easy to sort, you can change information quickly, and it’s easy to pass on to the next person in charge of donations.  Another way is writing things on index cards.  There are also programs that allow you to build databases.  It’s up to you and your organization to decide how to best retain this information.  Next years auction chairs will thank you, one of the first documents they will be looking for is the donation contact list from last years event.

Have questions or need help building a donation contact list or planning your next fundraising event?  Contact us at benefitbidding.com

Donation Solicitation Letters

A successful auction relies on getting great auction items.

Getting auction items requires you to ask for donations from a variety of different sources.  Here are some tips and links to help you get donations through writing solicitation letters.

Solicitation letters are essential when asking for items.  Create a form letter that identifies who you are, what your organization does, and what you need.  In order to create this letter, you will need to start with a letterhead.  You can create an electronic letterhead easily.  Microsoft Word has a template to use.    Youtube has an excellent tutorial on how to do this: https://youtu.be/do6Vzvm3zw0

Here are some tips on what to include and how to write your letter:

  1. Address your letter to a specific person instead of to a business.  If you aren’t sure who to address it to, do a simple google.com search, or contact the company and ask to whom donation requests should be sent.
  2. State exactly what type of donation you are looking to receive.  If you don’t know, place a monetary value on the donation.  For example, you could say we would like a donation equal in value of $20.
  3. Be specific.  People are busy and do not want to track you down to ask questions.  The more information you give them upfront, the better your chances of getting the donations you want and need.
  4. Keep your letter to one page.
  5. Have someone proofread your letter.

Don’t be nervous about sending out solicitation letters.  Sending letters is a great way to make contact with people about your cause.  

Need help writing donation solicitation letters or planning your next fundraiser?
Contact us we can help benefitbidding.com


Who do you know? Once you know what you need, it’s easier to find the right sponsors for your organization. The “right” sponsors for your organization should be sympathetic and supportive of your cause and your constituency and be able to provide funding and/or services. Generate a contact list of individuals to approach. Who do you, your Board, committee members, volunteers, and employees know? Be creative and inventive when compiling a potential sponsor list—you can always edit the list afterwards.

Keep in mind that your list should be a list of people, not organizations or companies. You’ll have more success if you target individuals rather than organizations, no matter how tempting or appropriate the potential sponsoring organization may be. 

How do you ask? The best way to gain a sponsorship is by starting with a personal contact, then asking for a favor. Don’t be afraid! People only donate if they’re asked.

Exactly how you ask depends on your style. Asking using a personal touch is important. As part of your brainstorming on who you know, note relationships and things in common with the potential sponsor, and bring up those items in your approach. Letter, email, phone call, meeting, or a combination? Do what you’re most comfortable with and you’ll be most natural, but keep in mind that you may have to get out of your comfort zone or take several different approaches to land the sponsor. 

Personal touches always win out. Sometimes gaining a sponsor takes a bit of ingenuity. When corporations are asked by many different groups and budgets are tight. You can get creative if needed suggest splitting a sponsorship between two like-minded companies, giving recognition to each.

What can you provide and how can you credit your sponsors? Sponsors will want to know how they’ll be recognized in return for sponsorship. Be prepared before you ask by understanding what recognition your organization is prepared to give. Be prepared to be creative to get the great sponsorships.

Effective recognition gestures include signage in the check-in area, in the main event room, on the tables and on guests’ seats. Place your sponsors’ ads or logos in the event catalog, on the online auction web site and even in the pre-event invitations. Be flexible in your recognition efforts. One idea is to hold a thank you luncheon for your sponsors after the event.

If you are executing public relations activities as part of the event, be sure to mention your sponsors in announcements and press-related activities. Better yet, get a media sponsor, like a local newspaper or radio or TV station, and leverage those outlets to promote your event to attendees and other sponsors.

After you’ve put together your sponsorship plan of attack – your list, your ask strategy, and a specific sponsor return on investment- don’t forget to arm your procurement and other committees with your knowledge. “Don’t assume that just because they volunteered to be on the sponsorship committee, that they know lots of people, and know what to do

A little legwork will go a long way to landing a great sponsor. And in return, sponsorships give businesses another means to gain visibility in the community – while supporting a good cause at the same time.


I Need Volunteers

I need volunteers, you need volunteers,
we all need volunteers!

With any event, you need volunteers! These range from people to solicit auction items, people to put together table centerpieces, even people to make food. Volunteers can make or break your event. So, where do you find them?

The first thing to look at is your organization. Are members required to volunteer? If they are, you have a pool of qualified volunteers right there that have your goals in mind. Try to find volunteers that have a talent for the jobs you need done. Have someone crafty? Put them with decorations. Have someone who loves to talk and be social? Let them use those skills to talk to other organizations and people to get donations for your event.

If your organization doesn’t have rules about volunteering, or you can’t find anyone with the right set of skills, try some outside help. There are several online tools that can help. Volunteermatch.org is a great, free, way to find volunteers. You input the type of volunteers you need, dates, times, and other information about your organization and event and volunteers come to you.

Another way to get volunteers is to partner with another organization or group. Several universities in the area have organizations, like fraternities and sororities, that have required volunteer hours. This is also a great way to mentor a younger generation and engage them in your cause. Many of them also need experience and will help you with skills that you would normally have to pay someone to do such as marketing, graphic design, computer skills, and many many others. High schools also have volunteer based organizations that would love to help a good cause. You can also contact organizations like the ASPCA, Lions Club, and other organizations to see if they are interested in volunteering.

Getting good volunteers isn’t easy, but if you contact the right people, you can get great volunteers to help your event run smoothly.

You know from previous posts and our newsletter, you can put your auction online.  But how are you supposed to tell people how to bid on the items?  Here are some helpful instructions to get your audience bidding:

  1. If you are doing an online auction, Benefit Bidding has already put together a section of your webpage dedicated to the auction.  You can get there from your webpage, or you can go to http://www.benefitbidding.com/auction-list/ and click on your particular auction.
  2. On the left side of your webpage, you will see a catagory list of items.  Bidders can find exactly what they are looking for by clicking on one of the categories, or they can view all of the items.
  3. When you click on the category, or View All Auction Items, it will bring you to a page that has photos of the items.  Each item also has the value of the item, the minimum opening bid, the time left to bid, and the price to buy the item now.  This makes it very easy for bidders to see exactly what they are getting.
  4. Clicking on the link to the item will bring you to a page where you can bid or you can buy it now.
  5. This will bring you to a page to either put in your online auction username and password, or register for the auction.  Once you register, you can participate in any online auction, even those not in your organization!  This maximizes your online auction exposure.
  6. Put in your bid and thats it!  You can also receive text messages when someone puts in a bid on an item you have bid on making it very easy to snag that item you really want!

It’s easy to bid and easy to make money with online auctions!  Here are simple instructions you can copy and paste to send to your bidders.  Be sure to fill in your organization’s name and URL in the first step.

  1. Go to our website at (insert website URL here) or go to http://www.benefitbidding.com/auction-list/ and select (name of organization here) and click on the link to the online auction.
  2. The list of categories of auction items will be on the left hand side of the screen.  Click on the category you like, or select the link for View All Items.
  3. Click on the link under the photo to see more information about any item.
  4. When you are ready to bid, click on the yellow button on the right side of the page.
  5. Fill out the registration form, if you are a new bidder.  If you already have a username and password, log in.
  6. Click on the yellow button on the right side of the page to bid.

Need extra information?  Just give us a call!  We are glad to walk you through any part of the online auction process.